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Take an occasional stroll to improve your physical health | The Triangle

Take an occasional stroll to improve your physical health

Photograph courtesy of Jeffrey M. Vinocur at Wikimedia Commons.

I decided to run cross country at the beginning of my freshman year, and it was one of the best decisions I have made in my life. The sport taught me perseverance, determination and diligence, but most importantly, it taught me that running is a good mechanism for relieving stress. I have loved running since then, and whenever I need something to do, running is one of my first solutions to that problem.

The sport helps clear my mind whenever I am stressed, as I always set a goal for myself before I go on the run, and accomplishing it always makes me feel productive. The transition from spring break to spring term was difficult, but I found that running helped to relieve my stress.The first couple weeks of the third quarter were difficult because of this transition, but when the weather started getting warmer, I was able to go on runs on the trail along the Schuylkill River.

I highly recommend going on a run or walk, for it allows you to take in what is around you. Getting outside exercises the brain because it alleviates any negative thoughts in the mind. During a walk or run, observing nature and embracing the environment that surrounds us can be beneficial. Running is often especially stress-relieving for people like myself who have anxiety and depression. While this does not work for everyone, there are many proven positive aspects of running, both mental and physical. In one eight-year study of 2,637 participants, researchers found that the more frequently people ran, the less likely they were to suffer from knee pain or osteoarthritis. Given this information, running has been known to make the muscles in the body to be stronger. Another positive aspect of running is that it helps people sleep longer, improve their mood and boost their ability to focus. It can also give you a more determined mindset as you become focused on completing your running goals.

When you feel like you need to concentrate or take your mind off things, go for a walk or run in a nearby park. If the sky is blue and the grass is green, the weather is perfect for a stroll. Nature is underrated. We need to take advantage of the parks around us; even a 20-minute brisk walk is enough. Philadelphia has amazing parks and trails that are present for a reason. As a Philadelphian student, I strongly recommend fresh air as a good way to take your mind off things. Whether it be with someone or just by yourself,  running helps you take in what is around you and enjoy the little things in life. While people may be apprehensive about taking up running, I believe the positive aspects of this exercise make it worth trying out.